Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 Rewind + 2016 Looking Ahead

Each year gets crazier and crazier. I could not have imagined at the start of 2015 what the year would entail, and I don't think I would have believed it if I knew. Last year I wrote a similar post from the couch in my bedroom surrounded by piles of my belongings waiting to be packed into a suitcase and sent off to Europe for six months. This year I'm in a hotel room in Los Angeles (!!!) celebrating my grandparents' 50th anniversary, still unsure of what the year holds but ready for whatever life throws at me.

Last year I spent the first week of January with my family, then flew off to Mannheim, Germany for a semester-long exchange program. I attempted to document all of my travels, from the first few days in Mannheim to the final goodbyes in June. I was home for barely three weeks before I was off again, this time for three weeks in Amherst, Massachusetts for a job as a student mentor for international students. The rest of the year I spent in my home state of North Carolina, finishing up my junior year of university and taking small trips to nearby beaches and theme parks

I made several new lifelong friends, learned I can survive on little sleep for the sake of travel,  visited 11 new countries, worked a little more toward my bilingual goal by living in another country, started and ended my junior year of college, ran my 4th half-marathon, had my first full-time job, adopted the German attitude of straightforwardness and stopped caring as much about what other people think.

Unlike last year where I refused to set any year-long goals for myself, this year I've set my mind on 10 things that can reasonably be accomplished by the end of the year (and hopefully continue on afterwards).

Practice my German fluency. Being bilingual is something I've always wanted to accomplish, but I have such few opportunities to practice that I'm closer to "intermediate proficiency" than "fluency."
Travel to Boston to visit friends from exchange. I spent a few weeks in Amherst working with one of my exchange friends, but I want to take another trip just for fun.
Get better at replying to emails in a timely manner. Now that I'm getting into more time-sensitive/professional email use, I need to get better at my turnaround time.
Travel outside the country. Even if it means taking a 15 hour roadtrip to Canada, I am determined to make it outside the US at least once this year.
Get back into kickboxing. I was really into it freshman and sophomore year and then I lost the ability to practice it while abroad and never got back into it when I returned.
Get back into (almost) daily yoga. Reverse of kickboxing - I got into it during exchange and stopped when I returned.
Save money for big purchases. Now that I've gotten into my 20s I feel it's important to have a decent amount of money saved for big purchases.
Be less stingy with my time. I am a very organised person and tend to live off of my planner. If I don't have something scheduled, I often deem it not worth my time, and don't leave room for spontaneity.
Learn how to parallel park. I live downtown - all there is is parallel parking and at this point it's ridiculous that I can't do it.
Finish watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A bit of a silly one, but I started watching it freshman year and I've only managed to get to the third season.

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